Public Transportation in Iran: The Ins and Outs of inter-city Bus Travelling
Are you making your itinerary to travel to and visit Iran? Or you may have just entered Iran and excited about visiting your favorite touristic destinations in the Land of Persians? Are you traveling on your own or you have bought one of the numerous tour packages offered by Iranian Travel Agencies such as IranRoute? Well, if you are traveling on your own, you will have various options to plan your trip based on your own needs and desires; you can reserve your favorite hotels and rooms, would be able to go to restaurants which match your taste the best, and would have the freedom to select the most convenient means of transportation, such as traveling by bus in Iran.
Concerning transportation, just like any other country in the world, different means are available to explore Iran. For instance, you may opt for traveling by airplane, train, bus or taxi. In addition, there exist apps, such as Snapp or Tapsi, to download and use. And you don’t need to panic; they work just like Uber in Western countries.
Among the choices available above, the easiest and most inexpensive means of transportation for tourists and travelers who wish to see the beauties of Iran is going around the country by bus; especially since 26 June 2022 when some Iranian Airlines announced that they will charge their foreign customers in dollars for internal flights.
The good news is that all the centers of Iran’s provinces are equipped with modern bus terminals, a number of them with even more than one, connecting together all the major touristic sights of the country.
So, if you are eager to find out more about traveling by bus around Iran, please read IranRoute’s article to the end to get a good grasp of all the advantages and disadvantages of commuting among different cities by bus, a convenient and instant way to see Iran.
Bus Terminals in Iran
Bus terminals are generally located on the outskirts of major cities in Iran, but they are easily accessed by taxi, metro or other means of public transportation. Iranian companies providing bus services have their individual booths inside the bus terminals in which you can buy your bus ticket or wait until your departure time. In addition, bus terminals are equipped with facilities such as supermarkets, souvenir shops, restrooms, and even accommodation services. Also, almost all the terminals have their own taxi and inner-city bus services. It is advisable to use these taxis as they are safer and their prices are regulated.
The inter-city buses in Iran
Traveling by bus is the most common means of transportation across Iran due to its low price and high availability. Each year, more than 1 million bus trips are made in the country. So, it would be a perfect choice for the foreign tourists who are after a cheap, comfortable and convenient means of transportation and have many spots on their itinerary. Currently, there are over 20 private bus companies that provide inter-city bus transportation in Iran. However, Royal Safar, Hamsafar, Iran Peyma, and Seir-o-Safar are considered as the major and best bus companies of the country.
Types of Inter-City Buses in Iran
Iranian bus companies provide two types of services: Standard and VIP. The VIP buses are usually more comfortable than normal buses and are better choices for long-distance trips.
What amenities do VIP buses have?
The amenities available on VIP buses usually include air conditioner, reclining seats, fridge, private TV, WiFi and spacious double or solo seats. Generally speaking, these are the best facilities provided for raveling across Iran by bus.
Is food served on Iranian buses for long rides?
Generally, no food is served on Iranian buses, but each passenger is given a small pack which includes a number of snacks such as biscuits, cakes, etc. Also, you can find bottled water in the fridge of the bus.
Is there a Toilet on the bus?
Iranian buses lack toilets, but the drivers regularly stop at Service Areas so the passengers can find public toilets, buy snacks, eat food, smoke and take a short walk to get refreshed after a long bus ride.
How much luggage can be taken on a bus in Iran?
The maximum weight for luggage per individual is 20km. The extra amount is negotiable with the driver or his assistant. You can carry handbag onto the bus, so we strongly suggest you to put your valuables in the handbag and take them with yourself onboard.
Is It Safe to Travel in Iran by Bus?
Well, the licensed drivers employed by bus companies are highly experienced, able to manage successfully all sorts of conditions on the road. And to avoid any accidents occurring due to fatigue, no bus is allowed to leave the terminal unless there are two drivers on board.
Moreover, Iran’s Road Maintenance and Transportation Organization does its best to keep the roads well-maintained and in good condition. Also, Police check points and speed cameras available in most routes ensure that no one breaks driving rules. Moreover, the drivers and their assistants are there to take good care of you in case anything out of ordinary happens.
All in all, you should not be worried much about traveling by bus around Iran. However, unexpected accidents are probable occur!
Is bus transportation safe for female solo travelers in Iran?
Solo female travelers can buy or book bus tickets without any problem, just like all the other tourists. However, there are two rules that they should observe. Just like Iranian women, solo female travelers cannot sit on the first row seats or beside a male stranger. If this happens, the driver or representatives of the bus company can change the seat of the female travelers. All this is done not because of sexual discrimination but rather for a more comfortable experience for women.
How to buy bus tickets in Iran?
Now, you may be wondering how you could buy bus tickets in Iran. Well, you have three options here:
1. It is possible to go directly to bus terminals and buy your tickets there (in Rials only) or,
2. via IranRoute’s Bus Ticket Online Service or,
3. other Iranian websites such as Alibaba, Safar724, Payaneh, mrbilit (some of these websites do not provide their services in English. So, either you should use Google translate or ask someone who knows Farsi to help you to book your ticket).
We highly recommend you to purchase your ticket at bus terminals or online, since no insurance is provided for the passengers who get on the bus outside the terminal. Please note that when you’re traveling in Iran, you cannot buy your bus ticket by Visa or MasterCard due to the current sanctions. However, if you are in Iran and prefer to buy your bus ticket by Visa or MstarCard via IranRoute’s Bus TicketOnline Service, you should use a secure VPN to be able to pay the ticket fee.
Note: Do not forget that if you are going to but your bus ticket on-line, you should own an Iranian tourist credit card to be able to pay for your ticket.
What Documents You Need to Buy or Book Your Bus Ticket in Iran?
Now that you have decided to travel around Iran by bus, the crucial question becomes what documents you would need to purchase your tickets. To buy or book bus tickets in Iran, all you need is your passport and insurance policy. Even, you can buy or book bus tickets for several different people with just one same passport. But, at bus terminals, you can’t do anything without your passport. Don’t forget to take it with yourself!
Do Ticket Sellers or Drivers Speak English or any Other Foreign Languages?
In most cases, no! However, this fact should not deter you from going to bus terminals in Iran. One way or another, they will communicate with you and provide you with whatever you need.
How to Get to the Bus Terminals?
Wherever you are, you can always easily take a taxi which gets you directly to your destined bus terminal. In addition, there are inner-city bus stops close to the major bus terminals in each city; however, using them gets a bit complicated since you would need to know exactly where to get on and off the bus.
In addition, in major cities of Iran, cities like Tehran, Isfahan, Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, there is a metro station in the vicinity of the bus terminals. They provide a fast and secure means of transportation if you learn how to handle them.
Lastly, if you have access to internet, you may download Snapp or Tapsi apps and hire a taxi to your destination in the blink of an eye. Please note that many people working as drivers for Snapp and Tapsi use their own private cars to commute passenger, so you might hire a car from these two online companies and then find out that a private waiting for you. That’s ok as far as the picture of driver and the car’s plate number shown on the apps matches the reality.
Can You Book Your Bus Ticket at the Last Minute?
The answer for many cases is a definite yes. Nevertheless, if you want to choose a seat in which you would feel most comfortable, it is advisable to book your ticket 2 or 3 days before the date you have in mind. However, this wouldn’t work on some special days!
Is it possible to cancel my bus ticket in Iran?
The cancellation policy concerning bus tickets in Iran is quite straightforward. Bus companies will charge you:
- 10% of the basic fare if you cancel your ticket up to one hour before the departure time,
- 50% after one hour to the departure time.
How to cancel my ticket on IranRoute?
You can make cancellations on our website by sending us a cancellation request via online chat or email at email@example.com up to 12 hours before the departure time.
Woman using mobile phone app to purchase electronic ticket for bus public transportation close up of female hands with smartphone selective focus
What is the Average Bus Ticket Price in Iran?
You can buy a ticket for most routes by paying about 5 Euros.
Are there facilities for people with disabilities on Iranian buses?
Unfortunately, Iranian buses are not equipped with special facilities for people with disabilities. You should climb 4-5 steps to get on the bus and then there is a long, narrow walkway that you should walk down. However, you may find some private operators to offer you the facilities you need.
Should I print my ticket or just show it on my phone?
If you get an Iranian SIM Card and buy your ticket online, an SMS will be sent to you, containing all the information about your ticket. So, you do not need to print out your ticket.
Can I change my seat after booking?
If you have any problem with your seat, you can talk to the driver to change your seat. Obviously, in case there are empty seats, you wouldn’t run into any problem to have a different seat. However, if the bus is full, the driver should find someone who is willing to change his/her seat with you. And please remember that it is not socially accepted to seat beside a passenger of the opposite sex if he or she is not traveling with you.
Is it better to take the bus or fly?
Well, it is always easier to fly to major cities in Iran. However, if you want to travel on your own or reduce your expenses, you should consider traveling by bus as part of your journey in Iran. Generally speaking, Iranian VIP buses are comfortable: just recline your seat and take in all the beautiful scenery Iran has to offer on the way to your destination.
Finally, if you want to avoid all the hassle involved in buying bus tickets in Iran, you can buy your ticket easily at IranRoute Travel Agency.